All posts by Chad Beyler

How Do You Take Your Doctor?

I will do absolutely anything to avoid going to the doctor. I think it’s because I’m part of that sandwich generation, where my elders seem to schedule their social lives around doctor’s appointments, and my children think you can just watch a YouTube video and cure anything. 

Let’s be honest here. My top reason for not wanting to go to the doctor is having to get on the scale. The whole process drives up my blood pressure and impacts my perfectly oblivious state of mind. I’ll try just about everything first to avoid asking for some help.

I recently had to visit a doctor because I needed to have something lanced. I’m not going to get any deeper into detail here, but there is a show on cable TV that shows a dermatologist building her practice around “popping” things that grow on our bodies. So that was the vision I had in my head. 

I had already tried every Pinterest home remedy I could find. Nothing worked, so Monday comes around, and I finally decided I needed to see a doctor. Thankfully, I had several options for how to receive my “doctoring.”  I like options. They make me feel like I have some semblance of control over what is happening.

Do you realize you have a menu of choices when it comes to seeing a doctor?

  1. Traditional primary care clinics. This is most likely the best option for all of us. Having a primary care provider who knows us well, understands our medical history, and has developed a care treatment plan unique to our own special needs is ideal. I have one, haven’t seen him in about a year so it is time again, but I do have one.

I didn’t choose this option for a few reasons. A.) His office is a bit of a drive. B.) I probably needed to get in that day. C.) I didn’t want to have to answer questions like, “What were you thinking?”

  • House calls. Here in the Quad Cities, we are lucky to have some primary care providers willing to make house calls. This particular practice is targeting those who have mobility challenges, like aging patients, but hey, if you like this idea, check it out.

Again, not a good choice for me because there is some lead time needed to make an appointment. Check with your local health systems to determine if there are house call primary care practices available in your area.

  • Virtual Visits and Telemedicine. Because technology is our friend, many insurance plans are offering members the ability to use their smart phones (sorry, Dad, not the flip phone), tablets, or computers to consult a doctor, 24/7 and 365 days a year, wherever you are. This option can help with well over 50 health conditions, but I didn’t choose this one because I thought the doctor would need to perform a procedure. 

I’m sure someday we’ll all be going online to order a robotic arm accessory for our phone so a doctor can remove our appendix. Someday, but not today.

  • Convenient or urgent care clinics. This is the option I chose after discovering that I could go online and choose my time slot. I also discovered that sometime over the summer, a brand-new clinic opened up about 1,000 feet from my residence. It even had a little clock showing how long the wait times were if I had just walked in off the street. No lines, no waiting, no commute, no excuses not to go. 

I scheduled a 9:30 a.m. appointment and was off the scale (I didn’t look) and in the examining room by 9:40. The doctor checked me out and laughed at my Pinterest mishaps. I was out by 10:10 a.m. and off to the pharmacy.

So the moral of the story here is pretty simple: Doctors and other healthcare professionals want to help you get better. It’s pretty much what they do, and they went to school for a lot of years to learn how.

Healthcare professionals understand that the modern lives we live can complicate fitting an office visit into an already full schedule. In an effort to meet you where you are, they’ve gone to great lengths to offer options to suit your needs. Location options, options around operating hours, options using technology. Let them help you (like I eventually let them help me).

Lora Felger is a community and broker liaison at Health Alliance. She is the mother of 2 terrific boys, a world traveler, and a major Iowa State Cyclones fan.

Alternative Flour Recipes

Heart Health Starts with One Simple Step

Knowing about heart health and taking action are two different things. Both are important, and you can start both today – for yourself and in honor of American Hearth Month.

Learn three things about heart health here. Each includes one thing you can begin today to start strong. Healthcare experts know small changes matter. You’ll feel successful without being overwhelmed.

Plus, you can add another change once you master the first.

Move toward a heart-healthy diet. We’re learning lean meats and seafood are better than fat-filled alternatives. We know processed items don’t stack up as well as foods in their original format. And it’s true the right fresh fruits and vegetables can help relieve damage from not-so-healthy eating patterns and set us up for success. But where should you start?

Here’s that one thing you can do: Cut down on salt.

It’s easier than you think. Start by looking at the nutrition labels on the foods you eat. You’re likely taking in more salt than you realize. That awareness makes it easier to make smart changes without sacrificing flavor.

Give your heart muscle a workout. It’s that simple. Movement makes your heart stronger.

One thing you can do:Choose how you move.

Walking isn’t for everyone, but it’s an easy place to start. Even better, you’ll feel the benefits quickly. Just 10 to 15 minutes a day makes your heart stronger, your endurance greater and your satisfaction higher.

Avoid tobacco. We discover daily how harmful smoking, chewing, vaping and other ways to use tobacco can be. Our body simply isn’t meant to cope with such foreign substances. Repeated exposure to tobacco leads to heart disease, heart attack, stroke and even death.

One thing you can do: Check out Quit For Life.

It’s worked for millions. It can work for you.

Again, keep your heart-health goals manageable so you don’t get overwhelmed. We welcome you to check out these other heart-focused topics from your friends at Health Alliance.

For help learning about caring for your heart – and taking do-able action that makes a difference – check out these additional tips. Then speak with your care team. Or contact Health Alliance at the number on the back of your member ID card and ask if health coaching or care coordination might be right for you.

Steps Towards a Healthy Pregnancy with Diabetes

Manage Your Pregnancy with Health Alliance Care Coordination

You or your loved one is pregnant. You are eager – and a bit nervous – about bringing a new life into the world. What can you do to ensure that your new baby girl or boy is born healthy? Establishing and maintaining a healthy pregnancy is step number one, and setting up prenatal care should be top priority. Prenatal care allows you to closely monitor your doctor visits, ultrasounds and other testing. This helps you prepare for your journey ahead – easing your worries and helping you focus on what truly matters.

Imagine having access to an extra layer of support, provided directly through your health insurance company. Health Alliance offers just that, through our Prenatal Care Coordination. This free program, offered through your Health Alliance Medical Plan, pairs you with an experienced nurse who helps you navigate your pregnancy.

Nicole McCoy RN, BSN is the prenatal, neonatal and pediatric care coordinator for Health Alliance.  Nicole has been a nurse for 10 years and has extensive experience with high risk pregnancies, neonates and pediatrics in many different capacities. She has cared for patients at their bedsides, attended neonatal deliveries as part of resuscitation teams and has participated in flight and emergency nursing. At Health Alliance, Nicole has helped our members experiencing both healthy and more challenging pregnancies. She provides moms-to-be with expertise and support to reach their health goals. Nicole can answer questions about weight management, proper nutrition and how to understand care plans. She also offers support – and knowledge – for those who are experiencing high-risk pregnancies and complications. Nicole works with our members over the phone, and also in person for those who live in the Champaign-Urbana area.

Interested in working with Nicole? She offers compassionate, caring help with the following services throughout your pregnancy and postpartum period:

Understanding and managing your pregnancy: Many women struggle with understanding certain aspects of their pregnancy, or with common medical conditions that add complications. Nicole works directly with you, providing education and support through your pregnancy and postpartum period. She addresses any concerns that may arise, such as postpartum depression.  

Setting and reaching your pregnancy health goals: No matter what your health goals are during pregnancy, Nicole can assist you. Need help setting specific goals? Need certain supports? Or simply want help staying motivated? Nicole helps you reach the goals that are most important to you.

Assuring there are no gaps in your plan of care: Nicole can check that there are no missing parts to your current plan of care, and she will assist you in addressing needs as they arise.

Navigating your health insurance plan: Nicole can help guide you through certain insurance processes, such as prior authorizations and referrals. She will provide you the appropriate resources or information to make the best decisions for you and your baby.

Finding resources related to your pregnancy and wellbeing: Nicole works closely with experts in other Health Alliance departments – such as pharmacy and social work – to address any related needs.

Working with your obstetrics office: Nicole has a wonderful working relationship with many obstetrics doctors who are Health Alliance providers. She works closely with them to ensure the best possible care for you and your new family. Interested in Care Coordination?  Please reach out to our staff by calling 1-800-851-3379 ext 28947 or emailing

Steps to a Happy Medicare New Year

Winter preparations are done, and winter festivals and end-of-year celebrations are over. But just when you think you can sit back and relax, there is still one last item you may need to consider.

If you made any changes to your Medicare plan during the Annual Enrollment Period, there are some actions you can take that may help you have a happy Medicare new year.

If you enrolled in a new plan or your plan had changes during the Annual Enrollment Period, you should make sure you’ve received your new member ID card. This card contains the newest info for your 2020 care.

Be sure to show your new ID card to the doctor’s office and pharmacist during your first visit of the new year so that they have your newest information on file. You also might have new deductibles, and whether they’re new or not, they start over at the beginning of the year.

If you decided to stay with Original Medicare, you’ll still use your red, white, and blue Medicare card for hospital and doctor services.

If you joined a Medicare prescription drug plan that works with Original Medicare, the plan will mail you a card so you can fill your prescriptions. If you joined a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll also get a new card to use for both healthcare visits (doctor and hospital) and for picking up your prescriptions.

If you need medical care or need to fill a prescription before you receive the ID card but after coverage begins, you may be able to use other proof of plan membership. Some examples are the welcome letter you got from the plan or even your enrollment confirmation number and the plan name and phone number.

If you elected to have your plan premium withheld from your Social Security check, don’t be alarmed if you don’t see it deducted right away. It may take up to 3 months from the time you made the premium withhold request before you start seeing your premium withheld from your Social Security payment.

This year is a great time to take advantage of your one-time Welcome to Medicare visit (available when you first join Medicare) or your annual wellness visit. This benefit is usually no cost to you. It’s designed as a preventive measure to help you take charge of your health, be advised of future needed preventive services, and establish a baseline for personalized care. And speaking of preventive measures, many Medicare Advantage plans come with a fitness benefit or provide access to physical fitness activities at no cost to you.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2020!

Jessica Arroyo is a community liaison for Health Alliance Northwest, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties in Washington. Born and raised in the Wenatchee Valley, during her time off, she enjoys spending time with her husband and her two very busy kids.

New Year’s Reset

Happy New Year, everyone! Here is hoping that 2020 is your best year yet. Now, I’m sure my readers are thinking my next line will be something about what my New Year’s resolution is going to be. No, not this year.

I have a different take on 2020 that I would like to share. Resolutions make us obsess about outcomes. The outcomes are sometimes tied to success, but they’re also sometimes tied to failure. So this year, I am substituting the term “New Year’s resolution” with “New Year’s reset!”

It seems like every year, many of us find a way to ring in the new year, like watching the ball drop on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” with the countdown “3-2-1, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!” Or maybe we skip staying up all together because this whole New Year’s Eve thing is overrated. Nevertheless, the next day, we close the book on last year, and just like that, we are on to a brand-new year and a brand-new start.

Starting that diet?  Setting the goal for financial freedom? Both?  These are the good old New Year’s resolutions, the imagined future, where we all vow to make a change. Our minds are set and ready to move on to a better us! “This is the year that you are going to do it,” we tell ourselves.

What I have learned over all the years is that my ready-set-go approach is good for maybe the first week or two (maybe the first month or two if I’m lucky). The adrenaline is high. I go out and buy all the organic fruits and veggies and local health food to fill the fridge. Then, I head out to the mall to find sweatpants and a matching headband, maybe even a new pair of shoes to walk and exercise away all those pounds (all on sale of course because I am trying to cut down on spending, too!).  Now, it’s all set, and I can’t wait to start!   

Next thing you know, good intentions are interrupted. In the mail, there’s an invitation to the wedding event of the year (with of course, lots of food and drinks to be served). And no doubt, I have to find the perfect dress and accessories to wear to the big gala. Or maybe it’s the annual Super Bowl party invite with more food and drinks (at least sweatpants are fine for this occasion). There go the resolutions, just like that! And here come the struggles and guilt with all kinds of mixed feelings! What about the diet and saving money? Why do I do this every year?  

Why put yourself through that?   

This year, wouldn’t it be easier if we lived in the moment and not the imagined future? If each day, we took a short, mindful pause? Stop and reset? What is going on around you right this minute? You might see the most wonderful sunset or maybe kids sledding down a hill. Maybe you hear the humming sound of the fan or just that peaceful serenade of silence.

You don’t have to worry about the entire year or even tomorrow, just be in the moment. Mindfulness is putting the attention on the present, and doing it purposefully. You aren’t imagining it, you are living it!

Go out for a walk or take that spare change to the bank. Make it intentional! It’s that small space in time that you can slow down, replenish, and reset your mind and body. 

In 2020, maybe we can all learn to hit the reset button and find how the power of taking just a few minutes of each day can lift your spirit, boost your mind, and achieve successes! Here’s to a wonderful start for 2020!

Morgan Gunder is a community and broker liaison for Reid Health Alliance. Born in the South and raised in the Midwest, she is a wife and mother with a passion for traveling, learning, and technology.

20/20 Vision for the New Year

Happy New Year to all! I think this year is going to be kind of fun as we set our sights on new adventures and keep an eye on our health and well-being!  

For the past few years, I’ve steered clear from New Year’s resolutions and have tried to find new ways to view what’s ahead. This year, I decided to create a vision board! There is no better time than 2020, right? Some of you may be wondering what a vision board is, how it works, and how it can make a person happy.  

A vision board is a collage of pictures and/or words that represent the life you want to live. It could be what you are hoping for, certain things you want to focus on for your future, or just the things that make you happy! It can have as many or as few representations as you want. It’s up to you. What matters is that you are the one creating it, and every time you see it, it’s a reminder that you are unique and that what inspires you doesn’t need anyone else’s approval.

Visualization is one of the most powerful mind exercises you can do. It helps erase negative thoughts in a way and keeps your mind clear to let positive thoughts in.

I love creativity and being crafty, so for my vision board, I am getting a poster board and using scissors and glue the “old school” way. Of course, there are other ways, like a digital vision board, Pinterest, or other forms of social media. It’s up to the individual.

Once you’ve made your vision board, you can put it in a spot where you will see it most often. Throughout the day, you will end up doing brief visualization exercises, and believe it or not, what you focus on expands. Wouldn’t you rather think happy thoughts throughout your day and throughout the year?

So what does my vision board look like in 2020? 

Just to give you a glimpse of what makes me happy, my vision board will have pictures of my family (to represent love), flowers, birds, waterfalls and the sky (to represent nature and calmness), words that represent health (like energy, balance, and healing), and beads and baubles (just for fun to give my board more texture and dimension).

In this new year, visualize a happier you. Let’s have 20/20 vision in 2020 to clearly reach your dreams! What will your vision board look like?

Mervet Adams is a community liaison with Health Alliance. She loves her grandson, family, nature, and fashion. Like this article? Feel free to respond to Thanks for reading!